Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas! And introducing Gunuary!

Hi folks,

Having had my blog roll fill up with bloggers all over the world wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, I thought I should do the same. So a Merry Christmas from me and mine to you and yours!

And with the New Year approaching, I'll take this opportunity to express an old Scottish sentiment to everyone out there: Lang may yer lum reek!*

This won't be my first Christmas spent in England, but it will be my first Christmas and New Year living here. The next year is going to bring a lot of change (again) with hopefully a house move at some point and our wedding in October. Hopefully, on the Hobby Front, I will also be able to find somewhere to play and keep going with my painting.

I'm planning to start the new year off with a theme, in order to give me some focus for my painting. So I've decided that January will now be Gunuary - A time for me to focus on getting my artillery units up to scratch. This will include:

- Getting the bases of all artillery and mortar units up to date (flowers, tufts, etc)
- Building, painting and basing all 8 outstanding 25 pdrs
- Finishing all outstanding 25 pdr crew figures
- Sorting out the replacement figures for my 4.2" mortar platoon
- Building, painting and basing my 2 Battlefront 40mm Bofors (and finishing the whole unit off)
- Building, painting and basing my 5.5" guns (on the assumption the whole unit arrives in January - a tearful Amy informed me last night that despite the order being placed with Battlefront in November during the sale, none of the models ordered for my Christmas have arrived)
- Paint my Auster AOP model

And if I have time (doubtful) then looking to build, paint and base my PSC 6 pdrs for my 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry list.

Phew! I think I will be lucky if I finish one item from that list, but I will push myself and try to get as much done as I can.

Anyway, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all! I hope Santa is good to you and the heartburn medication works out fine!

*Long may your chimney smoke/May your always have fuel for your fire/Live long and prosper ;)

Monday, 21 December 2015

Review - Waugh Games 15mm Resin Cromwell and Churchill

Hi folks,

A week or two ago I saw a request on some of the Flames of War pages I am. Brian over at Waugh Games was asking if any bloggers would like to review some of their new 15mm resin tanks, and given that Waugh Games is just down the road from me, I thought I would volunteer.

A quick run over to the other side of Middlesbrough later and a little chat with Brian, and I had some samples to paint up and review. I'll state up front that the models were provided for free for the purposes of a review, but that I have no other connecting to Waugh Games other than replying to the request on facebook!

Waugh Games are in the process of producing a range of resin vehicles in various scales. The models start as 3D sculpts, which allows them to be scaled quickly. I had a quick Q&A with Brian tonight, which I will detail later in the blog.

Anyway, on to the models. Brian provided me with a 15mm Churchill (I think a Churchill VI) and a Cromwell. Both are early prototypes although Brian does have them available for sale. I believe these retail for £4.50, although Brian stated that there were discounts available for models bought in bulk - the more you buy, the cheaper they are individually. Some shots of these 'naked'.

Having discussed the marks on the top of the turret with Brian, it seems that these are from the 3D printing of the model and that he had rushed to cast from the mold - these are early trial versions.  

15mm and 10mm Churchill

The turret top has more details that I ended with, as a trimmed too much.

So starting out with my trusty craft knife, I set about cleaning up the resin. Cleaning and prepping the models was pretty quick. I decided to go two different routes with these two models. With the Churchill, I would give it the same treatment as my Battlefront models. With the Cromwell I would paint it straight from the pack with minimal prep or other work.

The resin itself was pretty easy to work with. It cut very easily without being brittle, and I was able to apply downwards pressure to clean up some of the sections that had resin in them - like on top of the tracks on the Churchill.

The other positive side effect of this type of resin is that should you dislike the cast on base, it would be easy to cut off. Of course, I base all my vehicles anyway, so the bases were no issue for me. Brian mentioned that the standard thickness for these is (I believe) 3mm.

With the hull, turret and gun, there was no major construction of the model, so it was very quick to assemble. The Churchill turret had a very short 'stalk', so I wasn't able to magnetise it. At the other end of the spectrum the Cromwell's turret had a long 'stalk' and sat quite deeply in the hull. This would have been easy to magnetise, should I have wanted to. I drilled out the gun barrels myself in order to make them look like the typical muzzle break 75mm.

No spares came with the tanks, so no crew or turret MG's.

Having cleaned the models up and given them a wash in warm soapy water. After this I took some plastic putty and filled in a lot of the larger bubbles in the resin that I could see - I gave the Churchill a lot more attention here, leaving the Cromwell as it was from the packet. I also added stowage to the Churchill from my collection of Battlefront, Skytrex and Peter Pig parts.

I then primed them with some black brush on primer. The models certainly looked better with some colour on them, the white resin hides a lot of the detail on the model. I applied a coat of Russian Uniform (Vallejo Model Color 70.924) as a base coat. At this point I noticed a lot of small bubbles. Having discussed this with some fellow painters, the consensus was that the models had not been 'de-gassed'. My conversation with Brian tonight confirmed that, although he did say that this part of the process was being introduced within the next few months. To help with this issue I gave the models a coat of Vallejo brush on Gloss Varnish.

Once that had dried, I tidied up the Russian Uniform, painted the tracks Black Grey (Vallejo Color 70.862) and the stowage various shades of Khaki. I then gave the models a wash of Army painter Dark Tone and drybrushed them back a bit with Russian Uniform. I then highlighted with a mix of Khaki and Russian Uniform. Tracks I highlighted with a lightened Black Grey. Stowage was also highlighted.

I drilled out a couple of holes in the Churchill turret and put in some fishing line. I then painted this black. I also weathered the tracks and hull slightly, and added some rain water streaks for the first time.

I glossed the areas where the decals would be going and applied them. The Cromwell is marked up as a tank from 1 RTR, 7th Armoured Division, while the Churchill is 7 RTR, 31 Tank Brigade. I drybrushed the decals with some Russian Uniform to tone them down a bit. I then matt varnished both tanks.

The base I coated with PVA and dipped in fine sand. I then painted them Flat Earth, applied more PVA and added static grass and various tufts.

I'm quite pleased with the results, given the time I spent. 

The models actually came up a lot better than I expected, especially for early versions from a manufacturer that only started making these in October 2015. There are obviously areas where the detail is a lot less than that on Battlefront or PSC kits, but in all honesty at tabletop distances I don't think the differences are as pronounced as I thought they might be. Especially with a little stowage and the likes added to draw the eye away.

Scale wise, they also compare quite well to Battlefont (I am holding off on building my PSC Churchills until S&S models bring out their AVRE conversion kits next year).

Battlefront Crocodile on left, Waugh Games (WG) model on the right.

Battlefront Crocodile on left, Waugh Games (WG) model on the right.

Battlefront Crocodile on left, Waugh Games (WG) model on the right.

Battlefront Crocodile on left, Waugh Games (WG) model on the right.Tabletop distance shot?

The WG Cromwell added to the procession. BF model in the middle.

Battlefront Crocodile on left, Waugh Games (WG) model on the right.

Battlefront Crocodile on left, Waugh Games (WG) model on the right.

Battlefront Crocodile on left, Waugh Games (WG) model on the right.Turret-less shot to show hull detail.

Battlefront Crocodile on left, Waugh Games (WG) model on the right.You can see the lack of turret detail here - I think I may have trimmed too much and taken a lot of the detail off when I was cleaning the model up.

Battlefront Crocodile on left, Waugh Games (WG) model on the right.

Another shot of the Cromwell

Tabletop distance?

I felt at this sort of distance, the WG models were on par. The details are basic, but large enough to show up.

A side shot for better size comparison. The track details on the WG tanks were lacking, but I honestly didn't mind that as I hate painting tracks...
So, some nice models at a price point lower than that of Battlefront - and bought in bulk, potentially PSC.

Having had a quick Q&A session with Brian tonight before publishing this article, he was happy to acknowledge that these are prototypes and that there are areas which still need work. I specifically mentioned the turret hatches and the likes, and a few other areas where protruding details were missing but left a bubble or hole instead. These are all things he said he would look at, and we talked about this perhaps being the reason that BF provide a lot of hatches as metal components.

Regarding my specific issued about the condition of the Cromwell turret, Brian stated that he had been trying a new type of silicone mold out and rushed to try both it and the recently received 3D print of the tank out. This resulted in some prep work being missed and the 3D printer marks showing on the cast model. There are also some holes in the hull of the Cromwell which I left unfilled in order to show the package to tabletop paint job. These were, I think, to do with the resin pouring process.

Brian also acknowledged that the very small bubbles were a result of these models being poured resin, but that he was expecting the de-gassing process to be added within the next few months. This will help remove bubbles from the resin and prevent this issue in the future. Brian is very passionate about his products, and I accept that Waugh Games has only been working on these models since October of this year, as I mentioned earlier. He seems very keen on feedback and readily accepts that they are going through a learning process. 

The design of the models starts with a 3D sculpt, which can then be scaled all the way from 6 and 10mm up to 28mm. The 3D model is printed and then cast from the print in silicone.

Waugh Games are currently working on an expanded line of 10mm models, which he plans to do in various size packs. In early January he plans to release a range of 10mm WW1 tanks. This range will have around 16 models for both the Allies and Germans - in Company packs (12 models), Battalion packs (36 to 48 models) and blisters of 3.

As I understand it, there is also a range of 10mm resin WW2 tanks coming possibly in April. This range includes Allied and German tanks, with various Shermans and LVT's, as well as DUKWS. There seems to be a particular focus on vehicles used in the Pacific, for some reason... Brian did mention that they also have Landing Craft in the works. These vehicles will be in 3, 4 and 5 tank packs and cost around £1 per model. I have a sample of a 10mm Churchill, which is very nice. I'll try and get it finished and pictures taken soon.

In 15mm they currently have a few tanks from different nations, and are still trying out different techniques. The next big 15mm release is set for the start of the new year, with around 5 different Japanese WW2 tanks.

On the Cold War front, I saw a lovely looking Leopard 2 model, with Brian planning on doing the Main Battle Tanks of all the main nations. Possibly the APC's depending on demand.

So, that's it! A quick review of some new 15mm kit on the market. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have, feel free to leave a comment which will show up after moderation.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Post 250 - And Team Yankee

Hi folks,

A nice little surprise was waiting for me when I got home tonight, in the form of the Team Yankee rulebook. I had per-ordered this back in November and have been eagerly waiting for it to arrive.

Unfortunately the package was missing the launch event objective markers, and I had to go to the retailers website to find out why (no e-mail, no note in with the book). As it turns out the markers have been delayed - the retailers message on the books page was 'talk to battlefront about it' without even a link or an email address. Very shoddy and will make me think twice about using Stafford Games again.

The book itself is bigger (thicker) than I thought it would be. It's hardback and 122 pages - with artwork and quick reference on the inside covers. The artwork is very nice, starting with a map of Europe and little 'news articles' laying out each event in the run up to war.

Within the first few pages, the book lays out the story, details the main divergence from actual history and sets out the situation along the West German border.

I love this sort of stuff, and I hope they include more of it in future releases. As this book only covers army lists for the American and Russian Armoured and Mechanised forces, I'm pretty sure we will see more products (a review I read tonight of a BF event specifically mentioned Brits, East and West Germans, Canadians, French and other Warsaw Pact and NATO forces) and there is still a lot of scope for different types of lists - the fact that the Abrams tanks come with both the 105mm and 120mm gun versions does make it look like we might see some sort of development into the future as well. Perhaps different periods of what if's?

I've spent the night going through the rules, and they are all pretty clearly laid out and cut down a lot of the if>then stuff that Flames of War has. I'm interested to see how this simplified system works - I'm not keen on games that try and over simplify wargames so much, and I know that this game is designed for fast play. Still, it has a lot of tactical options and I can see it working quite well at scales other than 15mm - and I am tempted to try it at 6mm myself, having been looking at GHQ tanks recently. However 15mm will work with some other games I am interested in trying... so I will see.

I'm sure there will be (and has been) a lot of sites giving more detailed walk through's of the rules. What I can say it that it looks good, and reads well.

Manoeuvre seems important and while there is no reaction rules (other than for anti-air units) there are lots of chances for units to move. Examples include special movement orders that can be issued once per turn by a unit HQ team. A 'blitz' move that allows a unit to take a test in the movement step and if it passes any units within 6" of the HQ team can move 4" but still count as not moving for shooting and GTG, as well as a 'shoot and scoot' which is the same, but in the assault step - basically, stormtrooper moves at different points in the turn for all units. 'Follow Me' allows an extra move of 4" in the movement step after movement (on a test, units within 6" of HQ, etc)... so lots of movement options and lots of dashing from cover to cover and infiltration into and out of lines of sight.

Shooting and line of sight have been cleared up a lot, artillery and air seem a lot more straight forward, as does assault.

Army list selection is very easy, with the unit cards greatly simplifying things.

I'll be keeping an eye out for battle reports and reviews, and trying to build up a picture of where things are a little weak. There has been a few head scratching moments when I have read the rules (Thermal sights let you see through smoke, but only if you are within 6" of it for some reason, laser guided artillery rounds appear to only have a range of 16", etc). But I'm glad I have this book... now to figure out what army to collect!

Edit: the 16" range on Laser Guided Artillery is a minimum range.. that solved that one!

Oh, and in other news, post 250 and just over 60,000 visitors. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by, and especially the 6MMRPC guys and all the people who regularly leave comments. You have all helped me keep my hobby interest going, and I would not have made as much progress with my collection if it wasn't for all your input and interest. A competition may follow, after Christmas! Thanks Guys!

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Full Thrust: Escorts and Cruisers

Hi Folks,

I've been chipping away at my small pile of Full Thrust ships (the small foothill of a much larger metal mountain). Nothing major, only a couple of Escort Cruisers, a Light Cruiser, 3 Frigates, a Corvette and what I think is a 'Lancer' - a sort of small ship with a substantial one shot missile pod.

Back left to right: 2 x FT-137 Suffolk class Escort Cruiser (CE), Back Right: 1 x FT-136 Lancaster class Light Cruiser (CL), Front left to right: 3 x FT-134 Troutbridge class Frigate (FF), FT-133 Comanche class Corvette (CT), FT-123 Gladius class Lancer.
Back left to right: 2 x FT-137 Suffolk class Escort Cruiser (CE), Back Right: 1 x FT-136 Lancaster class Light Cruiser (CL), Front left to right: 3 x FT-134 Troutbridge class Frigate (FF), FT-133 Comanche class Corvette (CT), FT-123 Gladius class Lancer.

These are very quick paint jobs. I've only bothered painting the top details as it is unlikely that there will be any need to see the underside of the models. The escort vessels were actually a pleasure to paint and are very quick to do. The Cruisers are slightly more tedious. I'm going to take some advice from Tasmin and try a solution to the paint chipping issue I am having, by coating the mini's with 'Clear' before varnishing.

I've still a couple of Capital Ships, some large transport vessels and some cruisers to do for this batch to be finished. I've been pondering some more on fluff based stuff.

So aside from this slight diversion into space ship painting, I took some time recently to go and meet up with the owner of a local shop. As a result I have a little side project to start soon - but I'm going to keep the pictures for one post rather than spoil it now :P

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Full Thrust: Civilian Ships and NAC Battleship

Hi folks,

After a couple of rambling essays (yes, this week I did have a lot of time on my hands, but I enjoy putting stuff like that together and it doesn't take much time), I thought I should post some pics of the models I have been working on. That's not to say there isn't more FT fluff stuff to come.

First up a trio of generic civilian ships. A small fast liner (I think based on the Presidents ship from the newer Battlestar Galactica) and two haulers. I've already got the flight peg toppers glued to the underside of these, to make them easier to mount. I just need to give the flight peg toppers a coat of matt back and then varnish these three. The downside of these metal models is how easily they shed paint. The slightest thing seems to cause metal to show through, despite spray primer, painted primer, etc.

Left to Right - FT-337 Olympus Short Haul Passenger Transport, FT-338A Tradewind class Space Freighter with 2 x Cargo Pods, FT-344 Merino class Livestock Transport
Left to Right - FT-337 Olympus Short Haul Passenger Transport, FT-338A Tradewind class Space Freighter with 2 x Cargo Pods, FT-344 Merino class Livestock Transport
The bright colours were a challenge for me - I actually struggle a lot coming up with paint schemes for things like this. Still, it was an interesting change from all the Russian Uniform tanks and vehicles!

Next up, some muscle from me NAC fleet.

Top: FT-140 Thunderer class Battleship. Bottom: FT-134 Troutbridge class Frigate

Top: FT-140 Thunderer class Battleship. Bottom: FT-134 Troutbridge class Frigate
I've tried to keep the colour scheme similar for all the ships. Doing the first of any class is difficult for me, as it requires thought! Once the first ship is done, I just have to copy it for each subsequent ship.

FT-143 Midway class Light Carrier (prior to being repaired due to the bloody paint chipping - again).

FT-143 Midway class Light Carrier (prior to being repaired due to the bloody paint chipping - again).
I'm just working steadily through the small number of these ships I had prepped at the start of the painting challenge. This includes another Battleship (there is another unbuilt and unprimed I may do as well) and a Battledreadnought. And a number of Cruisers and small escorts. Hopefully over the Christmas period I will be able to finish these all off.

Any tips for how to stop the paint chipping off at the slightest touch? I've tried multiple coats of acrylic matt varnish, but it doesn't seem to make any difference. the models were all washed with a firm toothbrush and hot water before hand. They were also all sprayed with primer.